Antoine-Louis Barye was the leading sculptor in the French group of artists known as Les Animaliers. The term was originally meant as an insult, mocking the small scale and “secondary” subject matter of Barye’s animal sculptures, but he and his contemporaries happily adopted the term. As a young boy Barye apprenticed with a medal maker, and in 1824 he went to work for a goldsmith. He spent his free time in the Paris Jardin des Plantes, watching and drawing the vast array of caged animals; the zookeeper would even tell him when an animal was soon to die, so he could observe it without the restriction of a cage. He also took his sketchbook to horse markets and dogfights, and often stopped in the street to measure an animal or sketch a movement. In 1831 he submitted his first animal sculpture to the Salon, and although the Academy disapproved of its unconventional subject, he received several orders for replicas.
Luce Artist Biography